'The Secret Circle' Boss Admits Death Was Supposed to Happen Earlier in the Season (Q&A)
Executive producer Andrew Miller talks to THR about the fallout from the death and why he decided episode five was the prime time to do it.
Last Thursday's episode -- the fifth of the young series -- was a turning point for The Secret Circle, but executive producer Andrew Miller revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that the original plan was to have the game-changing death happen sooner.
But with Nick's older brother Jake (guest star Chris Zylka) returning to Chance Harbor and the seemingly perfect relationship between Diana (Shelley Hennig) and Adam (Thomas Dekker) being threatened by an external force, things aren't slowing down in the sleepy town.
Miller talked to THR about whether Charles (Gale Harold) and Dawn (Natasha Henstridge) will ever be redeemed, why the writers decided episode five was the turning point and the fallout from the death.
The Hollywood Reporter: Since Nick isn't coming back any time soon, how does his death affect the next couple of episodes?
Andrew Miller: He is really dead. Believe me, we all liked him. Nick became, in those five episodes, a really great character. One of the greatest things he did was make Melissa into a great character too, and then we felt like we needed to establish grounded rules for the show and the idea that there was no action without consequence and that what they're getting into is dangerous and is dark and can sometimes be fun and great wish fulfillment but that there's a darker side to it. They needed to be reminded of the consequences of that dark side so that we could proceed forward a little bit more carefully -- and in a grounded and rooted way.
THR: Why was episode five the moment when you decided, "Okay, this is where I'm going to do it," and not 10 episodes into the show when there's more backstory?
Miller: Our initial plan was to do it earlier, but we liked him so much that -- and we liked his and Melissa's relationship -- we felt like we could take it a little bit further, so that it ended up being five episodes instead of less. But from the pilot, it was always going to be fewer episodes than that, in order to establish this very thing, which is to say yes they're witches, yes it's awesome, yes you can do spells to make your hair curly and fuller and attract boys, but there's a price to pay. We wanted to establish that very quickly out of the gates on the show.
THR: It was nice to see him grow and see him break the archetype that he was in in the first episode or two ...
Miller: We felt like to really establish that you couldn't sell a show on the importance of staying together without showing the consequences of falling apart. What they needed to understand, despite being six totally different people and coming from different backgrounds and not necessarily being six people that would be choosing to hang out together in the cafeteria if it weren't for this common link. It was important for the series to show them how important that link was and how much they needed to protect it. And that really does inform the rest of the series.
THR: Can Charles and Dawn be redeemed or is the drowning scene a sign of things to come?
Miller: In the next episode in particular and then as we go further, we're going to explore all of our characters dealing with this death, and in very, very different ways. It's a terrible sacrifice to make to get this, but people deal with death all the time and in this world, where the stakes should be so high, we should confront that head on. In episode six, we're going to see people react badly and inappropriately and in ways they shouldn't and in ways that rip your guys out. Part of that exploration was that there's no right way to respond to death because it's such a personal experience.
With Charles and Dawn specifically, they're going to take two very different paths and it will cause one of them to question what they're doing, it will cause the other to question that they're partner in what they are doing. While they have this idea of why they need to execute their plan that they're executing, this puts things into a dark perspective that neither one was expecting.
THR: Will they be pit against each other?
Miller: Because Charles is the one who did the deed, it'll be harder for him to get past it, put it that way. His journey will be very different from Dawn's; it'll mess with him.
THR: Now that the circle is broken, how will Nick's older brother Jake play into that?
Miller: What makes Jake's entrance into town so interesting is that we -- by we I mean the extended circle, not just the five remaining but all of us watching -- don't know what he knows. We don't know if he knows he's a witch. We don't know if he knows Nick was a witch. We don't know that he knows anything. The only thing we know is that when he was last here two years ago, he was an asshole that everybody hated -- and that he broke Faye's heart and perhaps helped mold her into the person she is today, that he really messed with Adam and his father Ethan, that everyone has a grudge against him. His entrance is problematic from the start. Then the degree to which the rest of them need Jake, or need him to be a part of what they have will be a question for this episode and the next few to follow.
THR: Will there be other witches that will be coming into the fold?
Miller: I can't say that specifically, but there definitely are other witches out there -- not only in Chance Harbor, but around. In creating this circle, they send out a beacon, almost, into the world that attracts all kinds of powers, both good and bad. People will come, as Amelia warns to Cassie, people will come for their power and her power specifically. People will come out of the woodwork now that the circle has been formed and now that the circle has been broken, they're a little bit more vulnerable and that will attract more attention.
THR: We also saw a glimpse into Adam and Diana's relationship. What does the future hold for them?
Miller: Their relationship is a complicated one. They're two people that have been in love for the last three years and haven't known anything different. Diana is a really interesting character because she's a control freak for the most part and she likes her world in a very specific way and the ground is shifting beneath her feet and it's going to cause her to do some interesting things. Jake is going to further complicate things because his interest in Cassie will set off Adam, which will cause problems with Adam and Diana.